UPDATE: Guilty Verdict in Baby Death Case

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A jury has found a Huntington man guilty in the death of a 4-month-old baby girl in his care.

Michael Fannin, 41, is charged in the death of Emma Beaty. He told investigators he was babysitting Emma at his apartment in Huntington in 2011 when a screen door slammed, scaring the girl, and she flipped out of his arms.

Doctors, however, say Emma died from shaken baby syndrome.

Fannin was found guilty of death of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian, or other person, by child abuse. He is expected to receive a 40 year sentence. Sentencing is set for next month.

The wrong verdict was originally read in court after the jury foreman mistakenly marked the verdict sheet as not guilty.

The defense rested its case without calling Fannin to testify in his own defense.

The jury got the case just after 1p.m. Friday and returned the guilty verdict about 3 p.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/2/13 @ 1:15 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A jury is now deliberating the fate of a man charged with killing a 4-month-old baby girl.

Michael Fannin, 43, of Huntington is charged in the death of Emma Beaty.

Fannin told investigators he was babysitting Emma at his apartment in Huntington in 2011 when a screen door slammed, scaring the girl, and she flipped out of his arms.

Doctors, however, say Emma died from shaken baby syndrome.

Fannin is charged with death of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian, or other person, by child abuse.

The defense rested its case without calling Fannin to testify in his own defense.

The jury got the case just after 1p.m. Friday following closing arguments.

We have a crew in court.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for that latest information.



UPDATE 7/31/13 @ 11:10 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Testimony continued Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a 4-month-old baby girl.

Michael Fannin, 41, is charged in the death of Emma Beaty. He told investigators he was babysitting Emma at his apartment in Huntington in 2011 when a screen door slammed, scaring the girl, and she flipped out of his arms.

Doctors, however, say Emma died from shaken baby syndrome.

Because of a scheduling conflict, the defense called an expert witness to the stand on Wednesday.

The prosecution will resume calling witnesses Thursday morning.

The trial is expected to last through the week.



UPDATE 7/30/13 @ 9:45 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Jury selection is in underway in the trial of a Huntington man charged with the death of a four-month-old child.

Michael Fannin, 41, is charged with death of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian, or other person, by child abuse.

In May 2011, Emma Beaty was only 4-months-old when Fannin, a fairly new friend of the mother's, agreed to babysit her in a crunch at his Huntington apartment.

“His original statement was that he was holding Emma, the screen door slammed and startled them both and she pushed off with her legs, threw up her arms and did a back flip onto the couch,” said W.Va. State Police Trooper Willis Hash during Fannin’s preliminary hearing..

Investigators said upon further questioning, that story changed.

“I said, 'Where did you drop her, on the floor?' ” Hash said. “And that’s when it came out that he dropped her on the concrete floor."

During that preliminary hearing Dr. Eduardo Pino testified that baby Emma had injuries consistent with a baby being violently shaken back and forth.

"In my opinion, there's not a doubt in my mind that Emma's injuries did not occur from a fall, but from being violently shaken," said Pino.

Emma eventually suffered brain death. The swelling in her head cut off oxygen to the brain causing Emma's death.

“The head rocking back and forth repeatedly like a yolk in an egg,” Pino said.

Fannin's trial is taking place in Cabell County Circuit Court.

Fannin also has two young children of his own.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/29/11 @ 5:45 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Huntington man has been indicted by a Cabell County Grand Jury in connection with the death of a four-month-old child.

Michael Fannin, 41, of Huntington, was indicted on one charge of death of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian, or other person, by child abuse.

In May, Fannin was arrested for allegedly shaking a four-month-old baby to death.

Emma Beaty was only 4-months-old when Fannin, a fairly new friend of the mother's, agreed to babysit her in a crunch at his Huntington apartment.

Fannin's case will be handled in Judge Paul Farrell's court.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/13/11 @ 4:30 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The case of a man accused of shaking a baby -- killing her -- is headed to the grand jury.

Michael Fannin says he dropped the baby, but doctors and investigators say they're not buying it. Doctors say Emma's injuries didn't match Fannin's story.

That's going to be the crux of this case. Emma Beaty was only 4-months-old when Fannin, a fairly new friend of the mother's, agreed to babysit her in a crunch at his Huntington apartment. But, something went horribly wrong, leading to a baby girl's death and her babysitter behind bars.

Michael Fannin is a father of two -- a 10 -year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. But, now he's charged in the death of someone else's little girl.

“It was a violent shaking back and forth,” West Virginia State Police Trooper Willis Hash said.

Two weeks ago Friday, Fannin was keeping Emma Beaty when he said he accidentally dropped her.

“His original statement was that he was holding Emma, the screen door slammed and startled them both and she pushed off with her legs, threw up her arms and did a back flip onto the couch,” Hash said.

But, upon further questioning, that story changed.

“I said, 'Where did you drop her, on the floor?' ” Hash said. “And that’s when it came out that he dropped her on the concrete floor."

But, regardless of what Fannin says he dropped Emma on, Dr. Eduardo Pino, a critical care pediatric physician says Emma's injuries were caused by something much more.

“The head rocking back and forth repeatedly like a yolk in an egg,” Pino said.

It all eventually led to a slow death for Emma.

“The progressive swelling cut off the brain and oxygen,” Pino said.

WSAZ.com's Carrie Cline spoke with friends and family of Fannin after court proceeding. They told her Fannin is the nicest, most gentle man. They say he's been a loving father to his own children and can't believe he's capable of such a crime as this.

This case is headed to the grand jury and, in the meantime, bond has been set at $1 million cash only.



UPDATE 5/13/11 @ 11:40 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A preliminary hearing is underway for a man charged with the death of the four-month-old he was babysitting.

Earlier this month, West Virginia State Police charged Michael Fannin, 41, of Huntington, with child abuse leading to death.

According to the criminal complaint, the incident happened at a residence in Marcum Terrace in Huntington.

Fannin originally told the baby’s mother that he dropped her daughter Emma onto the couch after a screen door had slammed and startled he and the baby.

Later, during a interview with troopers, Fannin admitted to dropping Emma on her head on the bare concrete floor of the living room, according to the criminal complaint.

The baby died several days later at a Huntington hospital.

Fannin’s preliminary hearing on the charge is taking place in Cabell County Magistrate Court.

During the hearing, Dr. Eduardo Pino testified that baby Emma had injuries consistent with a baby being violently shaken back and forth.

"In my opinion, there's not a doubt in my mind that Emma's injuries did not occur from a fall, but from being violently shaken," said Pino.

Emma eventually suffered brain death. The swelling in her head cut off oxygen to the brain causing Emma's death.

Troopers say Fannin was an acquaintance of the baby’s mom for about the past four months and had agreed to watch Emma while the mom went to work.

The case has been bound over to the Grand Jury.

Fannin is being held in the Western Regional Jail on a $1M cash bond.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/3/11
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man from Huntington has been arrested and charged with the death of the four-month-old he was babysitting.

West Virginia State Police charged Michael Fannin, 41, with child abuse -- by parent, guardian, or custodian -- leading to death.

According to the criminal complaint, the incident happened at a residence in Marcum Terrace in Huntington on Friday. The baby died Monday afternoon at a Huntington hospital.

Troopers say Fannin was an acquaintance of the baby’s mom for about the past four months and had agreed to watch the baby Friday while the mom went to work.

Sr. Trooper W.G Hash says that Fannin originally told the mother that he dropped the baby girl onto the couch after a screen door had slammed that startled he and the baby.

Later, during a interview with troopers, Sr. Trooper Hash said Fannin admitted to dropping the baby on her head on the bare concrete floor of the living room.

Doctors told troopers the baby's death did not coincide with the statements made by Fannin. The doctors say the death was a severe case of "Shake and Slam or Shaken Baby," according to the criminal complaint.

Fannin is being held in the Western Regional Jail on a $1 million cash bond.


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